Kings XI Punjab will hope to cling on to their hopes of making the playoffs of IPL 2016 with a victory over the Delhi Daredevils. This match in Mohali could seal the fate of KXIP, because if they lose on Saturday, it really could be curtains as far as a spot in the top four is concerned for this season.
KXIP have been quite disappointing this season, failing to get going after a change in captaincy at the beginning of IPL 2016. With David Miller now being replaced by Murali Vijay, there have been signs of improvement – they have won one and lost one under Vijay – but it might have come a little too late.
With just two wins and six losses, the latest of those coming against KKR, Kings XI really need to win all of their remaining six matches to stand a chance of making it to the playoffs this season. That winning run can start against the Delhi Daredevils, with the key question for both teams being – team makeup.
Kings XI will welcome the arrival of Hashim Amla, who has been called up as a replacement for the injured Shaun Marsh. The game against KKR came too early for Amla, with Kings XI, as a result, deciding to go with just three overseas players in the playing XI.
However, Amla is now ready to feature, and should take his place at the top of the order alongside captain Vijay. That could mean a place back on the bench for Manan Vohra, with Marcus Stoinis, who has opened in the last couple of matches, batting at No.3.
While Glenn Maxwell has found his touch, Miller's form remains a concern for KXIP. The South African struggled to middle the ball throughout his painful innings of 13 from 18 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders in a tense chase, and with Farhaan Behardien yet to be given a chance, maybe this is the right time to give Miller a rest.
The Daredevils made quite a few changes to the playing XI in their last match, and as a result went down to RPS. Quinton de Kock should return to the playing XI, while Rishabh Pant, despite a failure in the last game, should get another go as De Kock's opening partner.
Zaheer Khan's fitness is still not known, and if the captain misses the second game in a row, JP Duminy will continue as captain. With Duminy likely to play – his offspinners will come in handy on the Mohali pitch -- DD might have to choose between Sam Billings and Carlos Brathwaite, while Imran Tahir is also in contention for a place in the playing XI, depending on the nature of the track. That means picking two between the four of Billings, Brathwaite, Tahir and Chris Morris.
Expected playing XI: Kings XI Punjab: Murali Vijay (C), Hashim Amla, Marcus Stoinis, Wriddhiman Saha, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Gurkeerat Singh, Axar Patel, Swapnil Singh, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma.
Delhi Daredevils: Quinton de Kock, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, JP Duminy (C), Sam Billings, Chris Morris, Pawan Negi, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav, Mohammed Shami.